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The Division preview: Ubisoft's surprisingly deep RPG has an air of Destiny about it

Let's talk about BOO

Even when you're playing with other people, your home base is always personal to you. It's called the Base of Operations (or BOO, if you like) and is one of the primary focuses of the game. Ubisoft even thinks of it as a second character.

At the start of the game we were dropped into Chelsea Piers (renamed Hudson Piers here), where our first mission was to set up the Base.

Once established, your foothold is where you'll keep returning to, gradually developing it to move the game forward. It's also where you can buy new kit and ammo, sell unwanted items, and even break down item components to craft things. Yes, The Division has its own crafting system – see what I mean about those RPG elements now?

The BOO contains three different wings – medical, tech and security – that are offline at the start of the game, and you'll need to complete missions in order to get them back up and fully running again.

For example, a successful hostage mission liberated a doctor who then came to help out in our BOO's medical wing. And as your base expands, you'll also earn new perks.

Perfect Dark

How do I describe the Dark Zone? If the rest of the game is controlled anarchy, the Dark Zone is just anarchy. In here you will encounter other random players, wild NPCs that are tough as nails, special loot, and a unique ranking system.

In the Dark Zone, anything goes. It's an online pvp-enabled space filled with other players, which you can enter without any matchmaking. You can be accompanied by friends, but be warned: they can turn on you at any moment – and you on them.

Social interaction inside the Dark Zone become more interesting as the motivations of players become ambiguous. Here, your emotes might come in particularly handy.

When you die you'll drop your items, which another player can then pick up for themselves. It's all a bit Day-Z, which is probably why it's also my favourite part of the game.

It's elements like the Dark Zone which make it feel like there's potential for The Division to live long into the future. Gieghty confirmed that the game will be fed with new content, including free updates and additions, along with paid DLC down the line.

Division

You'll be able to jump into the Division's beta at the end of this month. It's live January 28-31 on Xbox One, and January 29-31 for PS4 players.

Just over a month later it'll be here in its full and final form. Will there be a division in reception? I think it will depend on what players are expecting here. As an open-world RPG it has me quite impressed, even though I really only had a taste during my four hours with the game.

Elements such as the Dark Zone promise potential for longevity, but it feels like a game you'll want to play with other people to get the best experience.